Kaity McCafferty gives her take on the best places in St Andrews to grab coffee, brunch - or schedule a date.
I love cafés, probably a bit too muchconsidering how much time and money I spend in them. So I was pleased to findthat despite St Andrews having only three main streets, it boasts a variety ofcafés. As they are all so different, I feel it impossible to order them interms of best to worst, because each one of them is great in their own way! Andso, I organise my guide not by quality but by what I consider each café’sindividual strength.
Best coffee – Zest
Jumping straight in with the most contestedtitle. Unlike the rest of this article, this is not an opinion but a fact. Zestcafé has the best coffee in St Andrews, hands down. Full stop. If you think I’mwrong then fight me, I’ll be on the pier at midnight of the next full moonwaiting for you.
Apart from amazing coffee, Zest also hastruly wonderful and friendly staff. I’m also a big fan of their soups which are very tasty indeed. However,despite Zest’s reliable Wi-Fi, it’s not my favourite place to sit in. Thattitle would have to go to…
Best vibe – Taste
Second in the coffee rankings but second tonone in vibe, a few minutes in Taste is enough to make me want to shave my hairoff and change my degree to philosophy. If the stars align and you score a seatin this tiny café, it’s a delight to sit down and enjoy the artsy atmospherewhile sipping away on a hot beverage and digging in to a lovely baked good. ATaste croissant has, on occasion, been enough to being me back from the dead.
That said, Taste is just about the onlyplace I’ve ever felt like I’ve had to bring reading to. To fit in, I try andread a classic novel like the rest of the clientele instead of browsing socialmedia like a sane human being. I’m also very intimidated by the staff, butmostly because they are very cool and I am very not.
Best place to study – Rector’s café
Taste has a special place in my heart butisn’t exactly practical. Reasonably priced, bright and large, Rector’s is thebetter café to study in. Especially now that extra plug sockets have beeninstalled, and there is much less of a cutthroat competition for those seats (the Rectors regulars willknow exactly which ones I’m referring to). As it is a part of the StudentsUnion this café is supplied with eduroam, and while we may all have our bone topick with that particular network, it is a relief to be able to access academicjournals without working through 15 login pages.
Best place for a first date – Old Union Coffee Shop
You hit it off on Tinder, Bumble or maybe even at the Union (if the latter I am very impressed). Now you want to go on your first date, but you want to keep it low key and meet in a safe and neutral location. The sister café of Rectors is the perfect solution as it has reliable seating and is nice but not too fancy. Old Union is the perfect environment for getting to know someone and figuring out if you want to take them on that all important second date. If it doesn’t go so well it’s also very easy to play the ‘I’m so sorry I have to run to the library/class’ card for a speedy exit. If it goes terribly, your phone should already be connected to Eduroam should you need to send a cheeky ‘HELP’ text to one of your friends.
Best Breakfast – North Point
Maybe your date went really well, and inthat case open early in the morning with a variety of options, North Point is agreat spot to go for breakfast. While their truly mind-blowing pancakes arewell known (and for good reason), I daresay that I am very partial to a bagelwith scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Despite how indulgent a North Pointbreakfast feels, their prices are actually very reasonable.
Best Brunch and Lunch – Bibi’s
I’m very fond of this café because it shares a name with my dog, but also because it serves great brunch and lunch options. Leaning more towards the savoury end of the spectrum, Bibi’s offers a number of good quality salads and sandwiches. I also happen to know that they can serve prosecco with your brunch should you choose. I found this out when the last time I visited there were a couple of guys on the table next to me doing so and I almost died with envy. Unfortunately, I am barely able to afford fabric softener never mind brunch-bubbly. Should you feel inclined to purchase me some prosecco please do not hesitate to do so.
Best cakes – Gorgeous
Should you need to satisfy your sweettooth, this is the place to go. I only need to walk past their window displayto start salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs. I think the scones from Gorgeousmight be what true love tastes like. Homemade fresh every day these scones aredelightful and my favourite way to treat myself after accomplishing the mostminor of tasks. Their other cakes and pastries I believe are also homemade andscrumptious. If you feel like an extra treat you can sit in as, this café has acharming vintage interior and table service.
Best hidden gem – Golf Museum Café
Did you know this cafe existed? I certainlydidn’t until a few months ago. Situated above the Golf Museum this café isspacious and has stunning panoramic views of the North Sea. It also has verynice coffee with a selection of cakes (and gluten free options for all mycoeliac friends!). More upscale price wise but a great spot all the same.
Best overall – Cottage Kitchen
I never regret a trip to Cottage Kitchen as it is just about perfect for just about any occasion. Food? Sorted, there’s a good menu. Cake? There’s a fantastic selection and they are delicious. Outside seating is available for when the temperature is anywhere above 10 degrees, cosy inside seating when you’ve resigned yourself to the reality of Scottish weather. All your bases are covered. Very decent coffee and an excellent tea. What more could you want?
If you'd like to contribute to our revamped Food section you can get in touch with out Food Editor Fiona McNevin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaity McCafferty can be found in any of the above cafés and welcomes lively debate on the topic of which is your favourite.
The views about where the best coffee in St Andrews is to be found are not necessarily shared by The Tribe's editorial team.